Monday, April 30, 2012

Which Is It?

Continuing to talk about Hummingbirds, here is a photo of a Hummingbird at our feeder that points out an interesting problem.  Rufous Hummingbird males are easily recognized by their overall coopery rufous coloring.  Allen’s Hummingbird males have the rufous coloring on their fronts and sides, but their backs are green.  However, and here is where it gets complicated, up to 5% of Rufous males can have a green back.  No Allen’s Hummingbirds have been reported to eBird here in Douglas County, but they have been reported in Coos County, the next county to the south.  So, which is it, a stray Allen’s or an unusual Rufous?

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Cooperating Females

We get a lot of enjoyment from watching the Rufous Hummingbirds at our feeder.  They feed from early morning to late in the evening, and there is lots of competition at the feeder.  A hummer will start to feed, when all of a sudden another hummer dive bombs in and chases the first one away. But, one of the interesting behaviors that we have recently become aware of is that the females will allow another female to feed at the same time, as in this photo.  It’s the males that seem to aggressively defend the feeder to feed one at a time.  My wife says it’s too much male testosterone.  I’m not trying to draw any life lesson here, only an observation.   

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Row River Nature Park

We are now back on the West side of the Cascades and enjoying all the greenery that has popped out while we were gone.  Our motor home got a new battery installed yesterday at COTTAGE GROVE CHRYSLER DODGE JEEP RAM, and while that was happening, we took a walk next door through the Row River Nature Park.  This is one of my favorite birding areas, and is always productive.  We saw a good number of birds, but in addition to the normal everyday birds we saw several special ones, like a Pileated Woodpecker, a Bald Eagle, and our first Orange-crowned Warbler of the season. The most interesting sighting of the day was this nesting Canada Goose under which you should be able to spot an egg.  Watching with binoculars, Jeanette was able to eventually count four eggs.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

You Look'n at Me??

Despite spending 5 or 6 hours here yesterday at Collier Memorial State Park birding my brains out, my best photo was not of a bird, but of this Douglas Squirrel.  I think I have might interrupted his lunch of pine nuts, and his expression suggested to me that he is a little annoyed and could have been saying --- “Hey, you look’n at me?”

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Past - Present - Future

Past – This is the little log cabin that has served as the Information Center/Gift Shop for the Logging Museum at Collier Memorial State Park where Jeanette and I worked as volunteers during October of 2010. We have lots of good memories from our experiences here.
Present - This photo was taken on our walking route today.  There are lots of changes and improvements underway, including reorganization of the logging displays with new interpretive signs, and a new building to house an indoor museum. We found all the changes very exciting.

Future – In June, we will be volunteering in the park for about a week helping with the Living History Day on June 17.  Jeanette will probably be helping again in this Information Center/Gift Shop, and my exact duties are as yet unknown.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Collier Memorial State Park

Here we are relaxing this afternoon in our site at CollierMemorial State Park. (Those of you who know us very well will recognize this as a staged photo, as we have a hard time just sitting very long.)  However, we are very happy to be here, this is one of our favorite campgrounds. Our campsite at Goose Lake last night kind of laid an egg.  We were quiet pleased to have a shaded site, but after getting all set up we discovered that the campground water was un-usable. This might not usually be a problem, but we arrived there with an empty water tank after three nights of dry camping at Summer Lake.  It was also so hot that the birding was rather slow.  Anyway, we are very happy here with full hook ups, and wonderful temperatures.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Looking for Shade

That’s a pretty bazar headline, yet this is the position we found ourselves in when we arrived here at Goose Lake State Recreation Area today.  We had a very pleasant drive this morning from Summer Lake, driving through Paisley and recalling found memories of bike touring.  We stopped and enjoyed the oasis of Chandler State Wayside, and made a stop for fuel in Lakeview before driving on south to the Oregon/California border and this campground in the Goose Lake Recreation Area.  It does seem strange, but we picked the shadiest site we could.  I just checked our outdoor temperature, its 80 degrees! This is supposed to be a good birding location, so we will see what this evening and tomorrow morning brings.

Photo of the Day

This American Avocet in all his breeding glory turned out to be the photo of the day for yesterday.  Our friends Dan and Charlene Lawry drove down from Bend for the day and we did it all.  We birded one of the access roads in the morning with spotting scope and binoculars, identifying 31 species of birds.  We took a break for lunch at The Lodge at Summer Lake, which we highly recommend. After lunch Dan drove us on the auto tour route, during which we saw an uncountable number of birds, but where able to pick out 10 new species that we hadn’t seen yet. 
This morning we are ready to move on, and the plan is to drive south to the Goose Lake State Recreation Area where we will spend the night. On Monday we plan to drive to Collier Memorial State Park and spend a couple of nights before climbing back over the Cascades to Elkton on Wednesday.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Ana River Campground

After our early morning of birding yesterday at Ana Reservoir we moved on to check out Summer Lake Wildlife Area.  We learned what we could at the headquarters and then started on the auto tour route.  It wasn’t long before we couldn’t help ourselves and started up another bird list. The first campground we came to we fell in love with.  We talked to a couple of friendly birders, and decided to at least have lunch here, as shown in the photo.  After lunch, some relaxing time sounded good.  The longer we stayed the more we began to realize that this was such a great spot that we didn’t need to move on, so the plan developed to spend the night here at Ana River Campground.  We had a very pleasant afternoon and evening of relaxing and watching birds right from our site.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Birding at Ana Reservoir

We got a good start on birding this morning by birding for two hours at Ana Reservoir.  In total we saw 165 birds of 24 different species. It was fun to see some birds we don’t often see, and the setting spectacular with the snow on Winter Rim in the background.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Escape from the Rain

Here we are parked at the Owings Ranch in the Summer Lake Basin.  We left Elkton in the rain this morning, drove over the Willamette Pass in the rain, and a good section of central Oregon in the rain, but when we climbed over Picture Rock Pass this afternoon and dropped down into the Summer Lake Basin, we had finally left the rain and entered into a dryer realm.  We are here for several days of birding, and besides the good fortune of a quiet place to park, we are relieved to report that we have cell phone and Internet service.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Guess Who?

Most beginning birders would have a difficult time identifying this bird if they were to see it alone.  The reason being, she looks nothing like her mate, who is totally black except for the red slashes on his wings, making it easy to identify as the Red-winged Blackbird. We saw a many pairs of these Red-winged Blackbirds today during an impromptu birding trip at Jackson-Frazier Wetland in Corvallis. Seen together it was easy to make the identification.  

Friday, April 13, 2012

Bad Hair Day???

Or, -- is this a teenager with a reverse Mohawk haircut? Do you find it attractive?  The bird is hoping so, because it is part of his breeding display.  This is a Double-crested Cormorant that a photographed recently on a windy day in Winchester Bay or the Oregon Coast.  

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Killdeer Chicks

My last post on the First Goslings of the Year got such a large and unexpected response that I thought perhaps a follow-up in the general theme might be in order. While the goslings where the first young of the Canada Goose we have seen this year, they are not the first chicks.  As it turns out chicks can refer to the young of any birds, but goslings refer specifically to geese. The first chicks of the year where Killdeer chicks photographed on the week before on April 5th.  In this photo only one chick is peeking out, but the mother eventually got all four chicks rounded up and tucked under.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

First Goslings of the Year

Today we stopped by the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife’s District Office at Camp Adair, where we have volunteered in the past, to check out the birding at Adair Pond.  The pond was pretty empty, with the winter water fowl we had seen at a distance a few weeks ago  all gone, and I was feeling like it had been a mistake to stop, and then we spotted a pair Canada Geese with 7 downy goslings. It made our day.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Life List #200

Most serious birders keep a Life List, which is a list of all the different species they see in their birding life.  It has always seemed like a good idea, but has also seemed like too much work.  Last year in April when I started posting online to eBird, everything changed, eBird keeps a Life List for you! Each time I post a list of birds I have observed they automatically build an accumulating Life List. They also keep track of your observation numbers by county and state, and it’s been a lot of fun to watch my number grow in the different counties I bird in.  Come the first of the year, it all starts over again, and the competition in each county starts from scratch.  In the background of this annual county/state accounting, the Life List continues to accumulate.  The Life List starts out fast, because each species is new in the beginning, but it gets progressively harder the longer you stay with it.  Today was a significant day for me when I spotted a Common Loon in Winchester Bay and hit my 200th bird. I include a photo below, even though the quality is poor due to distance and rain. 

Friday, April 6, 2012

Lunch Time

We went to the coast today in search of some new birds.  Started at Winchester Bay, and then checked out some of the lower Smith River.  Didn’t manager to find anything new or different, but did manage to spot this AmericanBeaver outside his house munch’n on some lunch. The time on the photo is in fact, 12:03PM

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Birds of Elkton

I’m busy putting the finishing touches on a presentation of the “Birds of Elkton” that I will be giving at the Elkton Community Education Center this Thursday evening the 5th at 7:00 PM. It will feature local birds, and tips for identifying, and when and where to see. Everyone is welcome.   In-between I still try to get as many photos taken as I can like this male Rufus Hummingbird that was feeding at one of our feeders yesterday.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Rainy Day Diversions

It appears that we are stuck with yet another rainy day, so it looks like my birding is going to be confined to taking photos from the comfort of my living room.  These two birds at the feeder this morning make quite a contrast. The color contrast is immediately apparent, but look closer at the contrast in emotions of these two, the emotional objection of the Purple Finch in contrast to the stoic position of the Lesser Goldfinch as he holds his ground.  The Purple Finches have dominated the feeder all winter, and for this Lesser Goldfinch to show up was too much for this Purple Finch to take.